king survey

'Skull Island' Trailer Identifies a Weakness: Is Kong Being Sidelined in His Own Movie?

For all the action, comedy and excitement on show in the new trailer for Kong: Skull Island, it’s hard to disguise the biggest problem on show - and one that may translate to the finished film, worryingly enough: Kong is no longer the king of all he surveys*.

Oh sure, there’s a line literally arguing the opposite: “That’s Kong. He’s king around here,” says John C. Reilly’s character in a sly nod at the origins of the franchise only slightly undercut by other scenes suggesting that same character isn’t the most reliable source of information. For all that it’s a cute shoutout to the original name of the overgrown gorilla who debuted back in 1933, it also underscores an obvious question about the movie: why not just call him King Kong in the first place? Is that actually any sillier a name than “Kong”?

Perhaps the answer is simply that Skull Island is embarrassed about Kong. Certainly, the trailer could make that argument, as loaded with familiar faces and additional monsters as it is. Not only is Kong not enough of a threat to carry the movie on his own hairy shoulders, he has to watch his star power being eclipsed by a cast including Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman as well as the afore-mentioned Reilly. The movie is stuffed so full of recognizable actors that it feels at times more like a contemporary Towering Inferno than a King Kong film.

In amongst all of this, Kong feels more like an afterthought than anything else; he’s neither protagonist nor antagonist, but instead relegated to the background where he can provide some visual interest and wrestle the almost inevitable giant monster who’ll appear just before the end of the movie. To judge from this trailer, he’s more a domesticated giant ape acting out a contemporary version of The Godzilla Power Hour than anything recognizable as the King Kong audiences have come to expect.

This might be a necessary transition. Certainly, even Peter Jackson couldn’t make a more traditional King Kong into a success when he tried it as his first post-Lord of the Rings project back in 2005, and in an environment where The Avengers and other superheroes routinely deal with massive threats to the world, the idea of a giant gorilla rampaging through the urban environment might not pack the same appeal that it once did. (If nothing else, it might just make them wish the sequel to 2014’s Godzilla was in theaters already.)

Nonetheless, it’s difficult not to be disappointed that Skull Island doesn’t lean more heavily on the idea that a giant gorilla is amazing, without having to add in more unknowable beasties and monsters to grab the audience’s attention. The idea of Kong not being the central monster - even when a noble, misunderstood one, as in some takes on the character - in any story bearing his name feels like a misstep, and a misunderstanding of the King’s appeal. What kind of movie world are we living in where an oversized ape isn’t enough anymore, and how do we find our way back out?

(* Admit it: you expected the biggest problem to be the horrendously racist cut at 1:04, where John Goodman saying “monsters exist” is followed by the sight of the island’s indigenous people in tribal paint. As appalling as that is, I’m chalking it up to “unfortunate editing” and hoping that everyone involved learns their lesson before the next trailer, because, oh boy, that wasn’t a good look.)

Read more: Comic-Con: ‘Kong: Skull Island’ Debuts First Trailer as Cast Reveals New Details

Enneagram 8w9 - Seeking Power and Peace

Healthy Eights with a 9 wing often have an aura of preternatural calm, like they haven’t had a self-doubt in decades. Take their authority for granted - queen or king of all they survey. May be gentle, kind-hearted, quieter. Often nurturing, protective parents; steady, supportive friends. Informal and unpretentious, patient, laconic, generally somewhat introverted. Sometimes a dry or ironic sense of humor. May have an aura of implicit, simmering anger rather like a sleeping volcano. Slow to erupt but when they do it’s sudden and explosive. When entranced, the 9 wing brings an Eight a kind of callous numbness. They can be oblivious to the force of their anger until after they’ve hurt someone. Calmly dominating, colder; may have an indifference to softer emotions. If very unhealthy, they can be mean without remorse or aggressive in the service of stupid ends. Paranoid plotting, muddled thinking, moral laziness. Can be vengeful in ill-conceived ways, abuse those they love, don’t know when to quit.

Not sure if being KING OF ALL YOU SURVEY counts as a human job, but this is my cockatiel Boggle in his new home in Canada. We just moved here from the UK (Organising that was… interesting!) and once I was done unpacking I had a lot of cardboard and I saw these flags on cocktail sticks at the dollar store… so now Boggle has his own castle to be King of!

'Kong: Skull Island' Comic Book to Reveal Ape's Secret Origins, Island's Mysteries

If audiences leave Kong: Skull Island already wishing they could make a second visit to the monster-infested locale, they’re in luck: a new comic book spin-off will launch next month to reveal the origins of Kong and some of the mysteries of Skull Island itself.

Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, will act as both a sequel and prequel to the new movie, as a team of Monarch agents visit the island to find out more about the giant ape and just why he’s so dedicated to defending this particular island. Along the way, the reader will find out about the island’s history of war between Kong and the other creatures on the island - and what made him king of all he surveys.

The four-issue series will be written by Red Sonja and Warlord of Mars veteran Arvid Nelson, with art by Malaysian artist Zid. The first issue will be released April 5 in comic book stores and digitally via Legendary Comics, with a free preview available as part of the March Loot Crate, as well as digitally, via ComiXology.

Read more: ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Film Sets Writers Room (Exclusive)

King Of All He Surveys

Experiment time, from me, you’re bumbling, assinine liege. Let’s say the whole community has a night in. We watch a film, we have some food, we drink, we play games. Now, here’s the “getting to know the community” bit: If you had to choose, for the evening in question, 1 film to watch, 1 snack to bring, 1 drink to drank, and 1 game to play with all the fabbo peeps of the Kingdom, what would it be?

Reblog, put you answers, and see if anyone has the same stuff as you!


Film: Alien
Snack: M&Ms
Drink: Any good single-malt Whiskey
Game: Mario Kart

Now you do it!

Solar System: 2016 Preview

What do we have planned for 2016? A return to the king of planets. A survey of mysterious Ceres. More postcards from Pluto. Anyone who follows solar system exploration in 2016 is in for quite a ride. Last year was one for the record books – and now here are 10 things to look forward to in the new year. See also: what we have planned agency wide for 2016.

Juno Arrives at Jupiter

July 4, 2016 is arrival day for the Juno mission, the first sent expressly to study the largest planet in the solar system since our Galileo mission in the 1990s. Humans have been studying Jupiter for hundreds of years, yet many basic questions about the gas world remain: How did it form? What is its internal structure? Exactly how does it generate its vast magnetic field? What can it tell us about the formation of other planets inside and outside our solar system? Beginning in July, we’ll be a little closer to the answers.

OSIRIS-REx Takes Flight

The OSIRIS-REx mission, short for Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer, sets sail for an asteroid in September. The spacecraft will use a robotic arm to pluck samples from the asteroid Bennu to help better explain our solar system’s formation and even find clues to how life began.

Dawn Sees Ceres Up Close

After an odyssey of many years and millions of miles, in December the Dawn spacecraft entered its final, lowest mapping orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. The intriguing world’s odd mountains, craters and salty deposits are ready for their close-ups. We can expect new images of the starkly beautiful surface for months.

Cassini Commences Its Grand Finale

In late 2016, the Cassini spacecraft will begin a daring set of orbits called the Grand Finale, which will be in some ways like a whole new mission. Beginning this year and extending into next, the spacecraft will repeatedly climb high above Saturn’s poles, flying just outside its narrow F ring 20 times. After a last targeted Titan flyby, the spacecraft will then dive between Saturn’s uppermost atmosphere and its innermost ring 22 times. As Cassini plunges past Saturn, the spacecraft will collect rich and valuable information far beyond the mission’s original plan.

New Horizons Sends More Postcards from Pluto

We have stared slack-jawed at the images and discoveries from last year’s Pluto flyby, but the fact is that most of the data that New Horizons collected remains on board the spacecraft. In 2016, we’ll see a steady release of new pictures — and very likely some expanded answers to longstanding questions.

Mars Missions March Forward

With five of our missions continuing their Martian quests, 2016 should be a good year for discoveries on the Red Planet.

Mercury Transits the Sun

A transit is a very rare astronomical event in which a planet passes across the face of the sun. In May, Mercury will transit the sun, on of only thirteen Mercury transits each century on average.

LRO Keeps an Eagle Eye On the Moon

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will extend its run in 2016, scanning the moon’s surface with its sharp-eyed instruments, investigating everything from lava tube skylights to changes at the Apollo landing sites.

Spacecraft Fly Under Many Flags

Our partner agencies around the world will be flying several new or continuing planetary missions to destinations across the solar system:

Technology Demonstration Missions Push the Envelope

We’re always looking for new frontiers on distant worlds, as well as the technology that will take us there. This year, several missions are planned to take new ideas for a spin in space:

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